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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. I'm sorry it was a disappointing year at TIFF for you. I half- or three-quarters expect you'll find that wow experience you're craving with Synonyms - it definitely blew Jessica's and my socks off, and the audience seemed fully onboard with the director's project. It only added to our fascination to learn that it is largely autobiographical. I would've loved to see Portrait of a Lady, but I couldn't fit it in our schedule; same with Serra's latest, since I loved Death of Louis XIV.
  2. So, how was TIFF for you, Darren? And Anders, were you able to catch any films? Aside from Jessica having the gall to come down with walking pneumonia - and thus we got our first taste of Canadian healthcare - we had a splendid festival. We missed Koreeda's latest, due to spending an afternoon in a walk-in clinic, but we still managed to see 21 films in 10 days. My favorite films were Lapid's Synonyms (second 5-star review of the year), The Cave, Zombi Child, Pain and Glory, and La Belle Epoque; but I also highly recommend Hearts and Bones, Les Miserables, and Beanpole. The two disappointments were Wet Season (a big letdown after Ilo Ilo) and Atlantics (which I pretty much hated). Take home lessons after 6 years of TIFF: - no more premieres at Roy Thompson - totally shitty movie venue - cram in more films for the first half, before all the directors and actors go home (I should've figured this out after 2-3 years, but I'm a slow learner) - TIFF membership is totally worth it, for earlier access to tix in general, as well as premiere tickets specifically
  3. Nice. Some overlap with our selections, but on different days, alas; so it looks like any encounters we have will be random as usual. I would've loved to see Bacurau, The Whistlers, Ema, Liberte, and State Funeral as well, but so many great choices this year. Happy to report I did get tickets to Springsteen, Almodovar, and Motherless Brooklyn, thanks to the TIFF members' ticket pre-sale - for a regular attender who doesn't have press credentials, a yearly TIFF membership is definitely the way to go.
  4. A hearty 'yes' to all of the above. In my review, I honed in more upon Bernadette's social phobia, but I think you're spot on that there's a strong element of depression (to be clinically precise, dysthymia) to her constellation of feelings and behaviors. And yes, this would not be the ideal film for a teen with a seriously depressed parent to see. Everyone around the depressed person typically harbors rescue fantasies as it is. As a clinician, the segments with the therapist are a somber reminder that when told differing versions of events by patients and their families, we sometimes have to choose which one is most true, and we don't always get it right.
  5. Here's my schedule for TIFF, with 3 premieres that I'm going to try for in parentheses: Thurs 9/5: - The Climb (Covino) - The Personal History of David Copperfield (Iannucci) Fri 9/6: - Varda by Agnes (Varda) (Pain and Glory - Almodovar) Sat 9/7 - How to Build a Girl (Giedroyc) - Citizen K (Gibney) Sun 9/8 - The Perfect Candidate (al-Mansour) - While at War (Amenabar) Mon 9/9 - La Belle Epoque (Bedos) - The Truth (Kore-eda) Tues 9/10 - Synonyms (Lapid) - (Motherless Brooklyn - Norton) Wed 9/11 - Sanctuary (Longoria) - Zombi Child (Bonello) Thurs 9/12 - Les Miserables (Ly) - The Cordillera of Dreams (Guzman) (Western Stars - Zimny and Springsteen) Fri 9/13 - The Cave (Fayyad) - Wet Season (Chen) Sat 9/14 - Atlantics (Diop) - Beanpole (Balagov) I'm quite pleased with the selection of films this year: a nice mix of new films from beloved directors, actors I enjoy seeing in most anything, films with good buzz from other festivals, and subject matter that stoked my curiosity. Anders and Darren, I hope our paths can cross at some point.
  6. Andrew

    The Nightingale

    Yes, I thought this was very well done. As I was watching, I mentally compared it to Tarantino as well; unlike almost any recent Tarantino film, Clare doesn't relish the prospect of violence but is striking out as a cornered creature out of options. (In this sense, Nightingale picks up the thread of traumatic grief from Babadook.) My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/08/the-nightingale-rape-and-extermination-in-the-british-colonies/
  7. So, has anyone else besides Doug C. and me seen this? I'm so glad that Doug praised Linklater's newest on FB, because I was planning to wait till screener season to watch it, after the critical thumping it received. It's not Linklater's best - that would be the Before trilogy and Boyhood, IMO - but it's still a strong film. I thought Blanchett gave a nuanced performance as usual, and also as usual, Linklater's script rang with authenticity in an eloquent Ericksonian way about the struggles of middle age and parenthood. As a social phobic/introvert/closet misanthrope, I also found Blanchett's character highly relatable. My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/08/the-affecting-wisdom-of-whered-you-go-bernadette/
  8. Andrew

    Blinded by the Light

    I guess a Billy Joel biopic can't be far behind, but this story inspired by Springsteen's music, about its effects on a British-Pakistani teen in Maggie Thatcher's England, was a delight. And it's my favorite among the recent crop of movies inspired by pop/rock music of the 60s-80s (no competition next to Bohemian Rhapsody and Yesterday, a tougher call with Rocketman). Writer/director Gurinder Chadha explores similar themes as she did in 2002's Bend It Like Beckham, but this film shows that she's matured greatly as a storyteller. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/08/let-yourself-be-blinded-by-the-light/
  9. Though an observer and not a participant, I hope y'all continue with this. I always enjoy the thoughtfully composed finished product.
  10. Andrew

    Them That Follow

    Maybe...I looked on my panel and didn't see it as an option, but as Jessica and my kids will attest, I'm not always the most observant chap.
  11. Andrew

    Them That Follow

    ...and the title is Them That Follow. Ken, when you have a moment, would you mind amending the title of this thread?
  12. Andrew

    Them That Follow

    So, when I saw snake handling and Walton Goggins together, I didn't expect nuance. So color me surprised. Aside from a major implausibility, this is a respectable directing/feature writing debut. And it transcends its sensational setting to offer some layered considerations on patriarchy and parenthood within a fundamentalist setting. Olivia Colman is splendid as usual, but Walton Goggins dials down the Southern Gothic here to deliver an understated performance that humanizes what could've been a unidimensional, villainous character. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/08/them-that-follow-snake-handling-patriarchy-and-parenthood-in-fundamentalist-appalachia/
  13. I won't be the mind-changer. I was underwhelmed and disappointed, too, giving the film 3 out of 5 stars. Awkwafina, at least in this role, seems to lack the subtlety needed to convincingly carry a dramatic film. And stylistically, some of Wang's choices were puzzlers to me. My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/08/a-passable-farewell/
  14. Thanks for sharing that, Beth. Juzwiak provides some helpful context, and it's nice to know that I'm not the only critic who saw misogyny writ large in this film.
  15. SPOILERS AHEAD!!! - - - Misogyny, because the did he/didn't he kill his wife of Brad Pitt's character goes unexamined, plus Tarantino's choice to spend so much time on the Home Alone-esque slaughter of the home invaders, two out of three who were women. It just strikes me that if QT could go whole hog and have the Basterds kill Hitler, why did he stop short of altering history here and allow Charles Manson to walk away unscathed? In addition - not that I'd expect QT to show this degree of sensitivity - the women in Manson's family were brainwashed victims in their own right, something that is not even given a consideration here. It really grates me that both AO Scott and Walter Chaw are talking about this film as a touching tale of male friendship, which seems to sickly miss the point utterly. It's certainly a story of masculine enabling, considering how Pitt enables DiCaprio's substance addiction, and DiCaprio allows Pitt to keep a foot in the door at studio lots, despite the (likely) domestic violence in his background. And of course, Manson is a tale of toxic masculinity to the nth degree of psychopathy.
  16. Have you seen it yet, Ken? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts (and anyone else's, of course). I was entertained throughout, but wow, the more I reflect on Once Upon a Time, the more morally problematic it becomes. Its misogyny and shallow fetishization of Sharon Tate become creepier and creepier. My full review (where it was more difficult than usual to talk about it without major spoilers): https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/07/once-upon-a-time-tarantinos-stylish-but-insubstantial-love-letter-to-1960s-hollywood/
  17. Andrew

    Late Spring

    I'm curious: do you feel this way about Ozu's films in general, Ken? I haven't watched Late Spring for a few years, but it seems to me that one could've picked any Ozu film from 1949 onwards, and it would've been an equally apt choice for our Growing Older list. They're all about intrafamilial dynamics and transitions, which Ozu invites us to observe contemplatively and mostly non-judgmentally (you've watched more Koreeda than I have, but there seems to be a parallel process with both directors in this respect). I recall perceiving beaucoup affection between father and daughter in Late Spring, if not in the huggy, emotive, demonstrative way that we Americans do it. I disagree that Noriko could just as easily be a housemaid. In your review, I read of your preference for films where Growing Older means maturation and not simply aging. But being a mere two years behind you in age, I recognize that each passing year means less opportunities for me. Much as I would've loved to, I'm probably not going to get the chance to live in France or Central America; too many responsibilities now with parenting and caring for aging relatives. So, growing older also means closing doors and regret (as in Late Spring), as well as growing wiser and imparting wisdom to younger generations (as in Kurosawa's Madadayo). And as an atheist, I accept that I don't get an afterlife for do overs; the fact that Ozu's tombstone contains the single character meaning "nothingness" suggests that he felt the same way about this single life we get on earth. I also think back to earlier decades when a dear, well-intentioned family member counseled me not to go into psychiatry (it's disreputable!), not to get married so young (well, maybe they were right on that one), and not to get divorced (back to being wrong). This person was the Shukichi to my Noriko, but I love them just the same and don't doubt their good intentions. That Ozu prompts me to think about such interactions in my own family history makes me love him and his films all the more, apart from their unique formal beauty.
  18. Well, Anders and Darren, maybe our paths will cross in Toronto this year. This will "only" be my fifth TIFF - and including Full Frame in April, my ninth film fest overall - so I still get that Christmas Eve feeling as each festival approaches. Glad to see that TIFF will start making film announcements next Tuesday.
  19. For my money, this and Midsommar are the most interesting things on US screens right now. Based on this directing debut, Joe Talbot and Barry Jenkins seem birds of a feather, elegaically crafting visually beautiful and psychologically rich portraits of black American experience. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/07/the-last-black-man-in-san-francisco-is-a-bounty-of-beautiful-melancholic-debuts/
  20. I'm sorry to read this, but I certainly understand the timing issue for you. I'm glad we have Full Frame to catch up in person at least once yearly.
  21. It's a definite sign that I'm ready for this muggy Tennessee summer to end, that I'm checking the TIFF website daily for any news (none yet, naturally). So, who's going? Jessica and I will be there for its entirety.
  22. Sigh...Bradley Whitford's brand of know-it-all smarm is becoming tiresome. I will, however, give the upcoming HBO series about a fraudulent televangelist a shot, solely because it stars John Goodman.
  23. Hey, better late than never. After my initial reservations about Season 2, I fell wholeheartedly for this show. I've watched it 3 times through - the only other series I've done that for is The Wire - and I love it at least as much each time. The depth of character, the scintillating dialogue, the flashes of humor, the ideas wrestled with - it's all done superbly. I forgot to post my review for the TV movie that wrapped up the series last month, so I'll share the link here. Its key is significantly more major than minor, compared to the series, but I found it quite satisfying: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/at-last-a-sunny-day-in-deadwood/
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